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GBI releases initial crime lab results

JERRY A. HUDSON
Douglas Daily News

DOUGLAS — A body discovered Thursday morning in a secluded area of Ware County has been positively identified as missing Nicholls resident Donnie LaVan Streat, Jr.

A press release issued late Friday afternoon by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation verified that the GBI Medical Examiner's Office at the Moultrie Crime Laboratory had confirmed Streat's identity following an autopsy and comparison with other medical records.

The GBI further stated that there were no signs of trauma to the body and it does not appear at this time that foul play was a factor in the 27-year-old's death.

However, further test results are still pending in the matter and the investigation is ongoing.

Streat was last seen at a convenience store in Waycross on the night of Feb. 15. On Feb. 17, his Dodge pickup truck was found abandoned on Pole Yard Road in rural northeast Ware County.

Officials from the Ware County Sheriff’s Office discovered the body at approximately 10 a.m. Thursday morning, following a tip from an unidentified, private citizen.

Jeff Evans, GBI Special Agent in Charge of the Douglas office, stated during a Thursday press conference at the Waycross Police Department that Streat’s body had been found submerged in 18 to 20 inches of water about 300 to 400 yards from where his truck had originally been discovered.

Evans furthered commented that the body had probably been submerged two to three feet initially, but recent drainage to the area played a part in assisting the recovery.

Investigators from the GBI, Ware County Sheriff’s Office, Bacon County Sheriff’s Office and the Waycross Police Department assisted in the investigation.

 

 

Authorities find body

Believed to be ‘Little Van,’ awaiting autopsy confirmation

JERRY A. HUDSON
Douglas Daily News
03/10/06

DOUGLAS — A body discovered Thursday morning in Ware County is believed to be that of missing Coffee County resident Donnie LaVan Streat, Jr.

According to Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jeff Evans, a tip from a private citizen led authorities to the northeast section of the county off Pole Yard Road where Streat's pickup truck had been found abandoned on Feb. 17.

Investigators from the Ware County Sheriff's Office discovered the body at approximately 10 a.m.

Evans said the body, which was discovered partially submerged in 18 to 20 inches of water some 300 to 400 yards from where Streat's pickup had been found, was unable to be visually identified due to decomposition.

"We don't have any reason at this time to believe it's not [Mr. Streat]," he said Thursday during a press conference at the Waycross police station. "[However] we will still have to wait for results from the crime lab."

At this time, foul play is not suspected. However, officials reiterated that an autopsy would be necessary in order to determine any further details.

Preliminary results could be available as early as Friday, but Evans stated it could be up to three weeks before the final results were released.

Streat, the son of former Georgia State Senator Van Streat, Sr., was last seen in Waycross, where he worked for CSX, on Feb. 15.

 

Mother of missing Nicholls man pleads for info, her son's returnStaff Reports
Douglas Daily News

03/06/06

DOUGLAS — The mother of missing Nicholls man Donnie "Little Van" Streat made an impassioned plea for the safe return of her son Friday in a letter to local media.

"As his mother, I beg — I plead for someone to come forward with information concerning his disappearance. Until I know where he is, there will be no rest for me. Please do this for my family and give us peace," Wanda Streat Bennett said in the letter.

Streat, whose father is former Georgia State Senator Van Streat, has been missing since Feb. 15. He was last seen sometime between 9 and 10 p.m. that night at a convenience store in Waycross, where he worked for CSX Railroad. His truck, a 1989 Dodge pick-up, was found on Feb. 17 partially submerged in a flooded area of Pole Yard Road in northwest Ware County.

Massive searches for Streat have been conducted in the area surrounding the water hole where Streat's truck was found. Law enforcement officials, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which has taken over the case, are still trying to uncover Streat's whereabouts.

"We're continuing the investigation, and we're still conducting interviews," said GBI Special Agent in Charge Jeff Evans. "We will be adjusting some of the things we do to utilize technology and the weather to our advantage [in the search]."

Evans said that law enforcement has not yet determined whether or not foul play is involved in Streat's disappearance. "We have not ruled anything out."

In her letter, Streat's mother remembers the last time that she spoke to him, on Valentine's Day — the day before he went missing. "I called to thank him for my gift, a little dog, which Little Van and my girls gave to me on this special day. His last words said to me, as always, were 'I love you.'"

"He is so full of joy and happiness," Bennett continues, "and brings with him so much laughter and fun at all of our family gatherings. His place at the table is vacant and will remain so until his return."

If you have any information concerning Streat's disappearance, please call either the Bacon County Sheriff's Office at (912) 632-2658, the Community Automated Tip Line in Waycross at (912) 287-2924 or the GBI at 800-597-TIPS.

Streat search continues in Ware County

Staff Reports
Douglas Daily News  02/22/06
NICHOLLS — The investigation into the disappearance of Donnie LaVan Streat, Jr., 27, known to most people in Coffee County as "Little Van," is continuing.
Streat, the son of former state senator Van Streat, was last seen between 9 and 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 at a convenience store in Waycross, according to a spokesman for the Ware County Sheriff's Office.
Streat's truck, a 1989 Dodge pick-up, was found Friday afternoon on Pleasant Grove Road about 200 yards off Beach Road in Ware County. The truck was partially submerged in a flooded section of Pleasant Grove Road.
Law enforcement, volunteers, friends, family and officials from agencies in Ware, Coffee, Bacon, Jeff Davis and Clinch counties combed the area north of Beach Road Friday night and all day Saturday.
Friends and family continued searching the area Monday, and also searched the woods south of Beach Road Tuesday. Searchers have not found anything, but the wooded area where the truck was discovered and a pond in the vicinity are being drained.
"This is just horrible, and we thank everyone for what they're doing. We hope someone has seen or heard something and will let us know," said Mike Streat, a cousin who was helping the search effort Tuesday.
If anyone has any information about this case, contact the Bacon County Sheriff's Office at (912) 632-2658 or the Community Automated Tip Line in Waycross at (912) 287-2924 or the GBI at 800-597-TIPS. -02/22/06

 

Son of former State Senator missing

Staff Reports
Douglas Daily News  02/21/06

NICHOLLS — The Waycross Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Donnie LaVan Streat, Jr., known to most people in Coffee County as "Little Van."
Streat, the son of former state senator Van Streat, was last seen Wednesday, Feb. 16 at a convenience store in Waycross, according to Chief William T. Cady, Chief Deputy of the Ware Count Sheriff's Office.
Streat, who lives in Nicholls but works at CSX in Waycross, got off work Wednesday night between 9 and 10 p.m. and headed to a nearby Flash Foods. He purchased a few items and made a phone call to a friend from the Flash Foods and left.
He has not been seen since.
According to Deputy Cady, Streat's truck, a 1989 black and silver two-wheel drive Dodge pick-up, was found partially submerged on Pleasant Grove Road in Ware County. Pleasant Grove is an old dirt road off of Beach Road that has been used in the past as a shortcut into Alma. However, there is a 400-yard stretch of the road that is underwater, rendering it impassable.
Streat's pick-up was discovered about 150 yards in the water just before dark Friday.
A massive search of the area ensued that night and continued all day Saturday. "We had a number of people searching. Law enforcement officers, friends, family, and volunteers have searched the area extensively," said Cady.
A state patrol helicopter came in from Perry and searched from the air, and people combed the area on foot, horseback and ATV.
The section of Ware County where the truck was found is very wet, and the Department of Natural Resources dragged the deeper parts of the water and volunteers waded through the shallow sections.
Searchers found little evidence, and officials called off the search late Saturday afternoon.
Cady said the truck has been taken to the Waycross Police Department.
Sunday and Monday, friends and family continued searching the area around Pleasant Grove Road.
Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said authorities are actively investigating the case. "We are trying to follow up and interview friends, family and acquaintances," he said.
If anyone has any information about this case, contact the Bacon County Sheriff's Office at (912) 632-2658 or the Community Automated Tip Line in Waycross at (912) 287-2924. - Douglas Daily News 02/21/06